The Oregon State Bar Law Improvement Program is an avenue for Bar sections and committees to participate in the legislative process. Law improvement legislation includes proposals to clarify statutory ambiguities, to modify unforeseen “glitches” in major legislation passed in previous sessions, and to codify case law as necessary.
Public Affairs staff are available to assist all OSB Sections and Committees with bill tracking. As part of that process, Public Affairs staff reviews all bills introduced during a legislative session, and will refer bills to groups that we feel might be interested. Contact your Section or Committee chair in regards to what bills your section has asked to be tracked.
OSB Sections and Committees have the opportunity to provide input on a legislative issue as well as take a position on proposed legislation. If your Section or Committee would like to take a position, please complete the form provided at the link below and submit it to the Public Affairs Committee through Susan Grabe, OSB Chief Communications and Public Affairs Officer. Proposals must receive approval from the Public Affairs Committee on behalf of the Board of Governors before a section or committee may take any action. If any questions arise, please contact Public Affairs staff.
The Public Affairs Committee of the Board of Governors oversees the work of the program, and makes recommendations to the Board of Governors on legislation and public policy issues.
The Board or its Public Affairs Committee sets priorities regarding legislation & public policy. In so doing, the Board will make a reasonable effort to do the following:
Curtis Peterson, Chair
Apolinar Montero-Sánchez, Vice Chair
Staff: Susan Grabe
Public Affairs staff is committed to serving the public interest by regulating the legal profession and improving the quality of legal services, supporting the judiciary and improving the administration of justice, and advancing a fair, inclusive, and accessible justice system.
The Board of Governor’s Public Affairs Committee develops the policies that guide staff’s work and recommends positions the bar should take on public policy issues affecting the bar and the legal profession.
With the oversight of the Public Affairs Committee, the Public Affairs staff provides information and assistance to bar groups, bar members, and government bodies on a wide variety of bar-related legislation and public policy issues facing the profession, with special emphasis on access to justice and preserving the independence of the judiciary. The Public Affairs staff works closely with OSB sections and committees on law improvement legislation and to identify responses to significant legal trends that affect the practice of law and the bar.
The Oregon State Bar Board of Governors must at all times direct its power to serve the public interest by (a) regulating the legal profession and improving the quality of legal services; (b) supporting the judiciary and improving the administration of justice; and (c) advancing a fair, inclusive, and accessible justice system.
To that end, the OSB Public Affairs Committee supports the following legislative goals:
In 1990, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Keller v. State Bar of California, 496 US 1, 110 SCt 2228 (1990) that an integrated (mandatory) bar's use of compulsory dues to finance political and ideological activities violates the 1st Amendment rights of dissenting members when such expenditures are not germane to the bar's purpose, which the court identified as regulating the legal profession and improving the quality of legal services.
Keller prohibits integrated bars from using member dues to advance political or ideological positions that are not germane to the bar's purpose; but if such speech occurs, the member may seek a refund of the member dues expended on that activity.